NewsPublic Affairs / March 30, 2020

EPA May Waive Some Pollution Penalties Due To Coronavirus

EPA May Waive Some Pollution Penalties Due To Coronavirus Companies that fail to do routine things like monitor their pollution could be given a pass as long as they keep a record of what happened and why they couldn't comply with the law because of the outbreak.U.S. Environmental Protection Agency2020-03-30T00:00:00-04:00
Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
EPA May Waive Some Pollution Penalties Due To Coronavirus

Aristocrats-Hat/Flickr

Industrial companies and others likely won’t be penalized for failing to comply with certain pollution control laws due to the coronavirus outbreak. That’s according to an Environmental Protection Agency announcement last week. 

Companies that fail to do routine things like monitor their pollution could be given a pass — as long as they keep a record of what happened and why they couldn’t comply with the law because of the outbreak.

Eric Schaeffer used to work in EPA enforcement and now leads the group the Environmental Integrity Project. If companies aren’t monitoring, he says, how will they know if they release too much pollution?

“You would never know. These pollutants are invisible. They don’t knock on your door and say hello,” he says.

READ MORE: What Do You Need To Know About Coronavirus? We’ve Got Answers.

LEE MAS: ¿Qué Necesita Saber Acerca Del Coronavirus? Tenemos Respuestas.

As COVID-19 mostly affects the lungs, Schaeffer says the last thing patients need is more pollution hindering their ability to breathe.

He says some facilities may be closed and will have no pollutants to report, but he fears many will use this as an excuse to break the rules while they’re still operating.

“It looks like Santa’s workshop, you know, it's a busy place — but too bad the coronavirus has taken your compliance team out of play, so you're not going to be able to comply,” Schaeffer says.

Schaeffer says a lot of the monitoring process is automated and should only require a couple of workers.

The EPA did not respond in time for comment.

Contact Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.

At WFYI, our goal is to cover stories that matter to you. Our reporting is rooted in facts. It considers all perspectives and is available to everyone. We don't have paywalls, but we do need support. So if unbiased, trusted journalism is important to you, please join us. Donate now.

 

 

Related News

Erosion Lawsuit Questions How We Should Protect The Lake Michigan Shoreline
Rising Water Threatens The Great Lakes Shoreline Too
Duke Energy To Go Net Zero By 2050, But Keep Coal For Decades